How To Create a Cinemagraph in Adobe Photoshop

How's it going everyone and welcome back to another Spoon Graphics video tutorial Today's topic is Cinemagraphs, which are those cool animated GIFs you no doubt seen on the web

They've exploded in popularity over recent years, with my old tutorial on my website from 2013 now seeing over 700,000 views The trouble is, since my original tutorial was created, Photoshop now has a whole new timeline feature which means you no longer have to edit videos frame by frame That old technique still works great for Cinemagraphs that include reversed footage, but today I'll show you some new and improved methods of creating Cinemagraph images You can make Cinemagraphs from any video footage as long as there's a combination of stationary objects and looping elements Ideally it will have been filmed using a tripod to eliminate shaking or moving too

Clips of escalators, subway trains, or some kind of repetitive human action all produce great results, especially if there's other areas of the shot that can be frozen to enhance the effect In this first example I'll show you how to make a basic cinemagraph by looping some video footage with similar start and end points, then freeze the majority of the image to focus the animation on one specific area This particular video is a stock clip I bought from videohive, named Girl Looking Towards the Ocean Begin by dragging the clip into Photoshop, which will open up the Timeline In recent versions of Photoshop this will show the video as a continuous clip, as opposed to a series of individual frames like the old versions

Skim through your video to find a suitable portion to animate This particular video hasn't been shot on a tripod, so you can see some shaky movement as you scrub along All this is useless footage, so it can be trimmed away by dragging the clip edge inwards to shorten it Drag the playhead back and forth and visualise how the footage could form a looping motion Here I'm watching the shape of the dress as it blows in the wind to find two frames where it appears similar

Drag the edges of the clip to your chosen playhead position to trim the clip down in size Click the small Gear icon in the timeling and ensure the Loop option is checked, then give the footage a test by pressing the play button The whole video will play as normal and jump as it reaches the end, but focus only on the area you wish to animate to see if theres a harsh jump, or whether it blends smoothly In my example, the dress is blowing so fast, simply matching two similar frames generates a seamless loop Other subjects might require some blending, which I'll cover later

To freeze the rest of the footage, press CMD+A to Select All, then go to Edit > Copy Merged Paste this selection, then drag the layer out of the Video Group and to the top of the layer stack Move the purple layer in the timeline above the footage then align and trim it so it's the same length Add a Layer Mask within the Layers panel, then set up a round Brush with a black fill Move the playhead elsewhere along the timeline, then begin painting over the dress area to allow the underlying video footage to show through

Move the playhead further along and continue erasing the static image to allow the whole dress to be visible as it flutters into various positions This shows why the background of the video footage must be perfectly still, otherwise the effect just wouldn't work Adjust the brush hardness to softly blend in any areas that result in a hard edge In my example, the model moves her arm slightly during the clip, which means some more careful masking is required You can switch from erasing to restoring the Layer Mask by pressing the X key, which switches the foreground and background colours between black and white

After some clever adjustment of the mask, the cinemagraph effect is complete This image can now be saved as an animated GIF, or exported as a short video file to retain its full quality Go to File > Export > Save for Web, then change the image settings to GIF, Selective and Diffusion Reduce the size of the image at the bottom of the options screen to bring the file size down, and don't forget to set it to Loop Forever You can see the overall file size in the bottom left corner

Alternatively, you can export the footage back to an MP4 video file at full size, which you can loop within video editing software Go to File > Export > Render Video and hit the Render button This next example shows how to create a loop where the footage needs blending This technique works perfectly for running water or smoke, like you can see in this free footage that's named Agua Natural from Coverrcom Drag the video clip into Photoshop to load it into the timeline

The clip only needs to be a couple of seconds long, so drag the right edge inwards to shorten it Drag the left edge inwards slightly to trim a little off the start This will be used as part of the blending process Drag the whole Video Group onto the New Layer icon in the Layers panel to duplicate it, then move it until it snaps to the end of the original clip Extend the left edge back out, then trim the right edge so it lines up with the edge of the original

This will leave a small section of footage that ends on the same frame that the original clip starts on Click the little arrow for this video group to expand the options, then match the playhead up with the start of the clip and click the icon to add an Opacity keyframe Reduce the opacity of the layer to 0% in the Layers panel, then move the playhead along to near the end of the clip Click the small diamond shaped icon to add another keyframe, then bring the opacity back to 100% Give the footage a test and see if the looping is noticeable

These clips blend so smoothly it's impossible to tell where they start and begin Without looking the at timeline Press CMA+A to Select All, then go to Edit > Copy Merged Paste this clipping, then move it to the top of the layer stack Align the clip so it's the same length as the footage, then add a Layer Mask Paint the mask with a soft black brush in the area that should be animated

It's interesting to play around and see if it looks better with a small or large part of the image in motion Cinemagraphs tend to work best with subtle motion, especially when they result in surreal images like this So I hope these tips for creating Cinemagraphs in Adobe Photoshop helped out you Have some fun creating them using your own camera, stock video footage or even clips from famous movies There's also a range of mobile apps that allow you to create this effect from camera phone videos, but doing it the manual way in Photoshop will always give you most control over your results

If you enjoyed this tutorial a thumbs up to help recommend it to others would be really appreciated Subscribe if you're new around here, otherwise thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next one

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